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Epidemiologic Studies of Isoflavones & Mammographic Density

Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, 1236 Lauhala Street, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA
Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, 1701 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2010, 2(1), 35-48;
Received: 12 November 2009 / Accepted: 15 January 2010 / Published: 19 January 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Isoflavones and Lignans)
PDF [207 KB, uploaded 19 January 2010]


Isoflavones, phytoestrogens in soy beans with estrogen-like properties, have been examined for their cancer protective effects. Mammographic density is a strong predictor of breast cancer. This review summarizes studies that have examined the association between isoflavones and breast density. Observational investigations in Hawaii and Singapore suggest slightly lower breast density among women of Asian descent with regular soy intake, but two larger studies from Japan and Singapore did not observe a protective effect. The findings from seven randomized trials with primarily Caucasian women indicate that soy or isoflavones do not modify mammographic density. Soy foods and isoflavone supplements within a nutritional range do not appear to modify breast cancer risk as assessed by mammographic density. View Full-Text
Keywords: breast cancer risk; mammographic density; soy foods; isoflavones; Asian ethnicity; epidemiology; randomized trials breast cancer risk; mammographic density; soy foods; isoflavones; Asian ethnicity; epidemiology; randomized trials

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Maskarinec, G.; Verheus, M.; A. Tice, J. Epidemiologic Studies of Isoflavones & Mammographic Density. Nutrients 2010, 2, 35-48.

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